On Tuesday I attended the AR/VR Live event at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes with my MA group. Due to the time we arrived, we did miss most of the presentations about VR and AR, however we did manage to catch a few interesting talks. The one I found most interesting, was titled "Just Hack It". The talk itself was not about actually hacking things, more hacking the process.
The speaker, Arthur Goujon spoke about the process of bringing a product from idea, to prototype rapidly. Basically, rapid prototyping. He spoke about how the old process would involve making a design, making a pitch and spending 6 - 12 months just convincing management and corporate that this product would work. Arthur went on to explain how they moved from that process to a much more rapid approach using tools such as Mendix to go from heavy coding to what is effectively a complicated WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) program to produce a product in under half the time.
This new approach was interesting, and I had thought about it before when I have needed something building rapidly but haven't really looked into it before.
Another talk I listened to was titled "What to women in tech really want?" and was given by speaker Sonya Barlow from Like Minded Females. Sonya spoke about the different ways women are treated in the tech industry, and how she believes women want to be treated which was eye opening to hear having not had first hand experience or really seeing the male-female bias in the tech industry myself.
Other than the talks, there were a few interesting booths that I got a chance to look at. One was an interactive demo of a robot arm tracking your hand position in Virtual Reality space and how it was able to make you feel on your hand something interactive in VR space. This is similar to a project I was working on last year at Solent, where we were investigating the link between Haptic feeling combined with binaural audio in 3D and Virtual Reality space.
The Bletchly computer museum was also present, which was great as Sarah had not heard of "Bombe", the machine that Alan Turing developed alongside other mathematicians to crack enigma codes during World War II. It would be nice to go back to Bletchly again, as there is a working replica as well as a lot of other material from that time in the original huts they worked in during the time and is something that interests me greatly.
Also there, was a Virtual Reality racing experience using a hydraulic piston driven machine which held atop a Formula 3 chassis you could sit in to operate the virtual racing car. They were using a Valve Index alongside this other hardware, which when I asked how much it cost, the figure came in around £20,000 not including the car chassis or other desired equipment.
The last stand I found helpful was one from a network monitoring company called Paessler who specialise in network monitoring software, which they provide a "100 Sensor" license for free for people like me who want to get more familiar with server software within a HomeLab environment, or for companies to evaluate. This actually helped me a lot as I have been researching different network monitoring software for use in my HomeLab and this has added another contender to my shortlist as it is incredibly feature rich and best of all, free.
The conference was interesting, but there were possibly not as many interesting or relatable stands and talks there as I would have liked from a student of Games Design standpoint, but from a business owner looking for ways to grow their business and expand their knowledge it was actually a really good and informative day.